I love a good, gritty real-life documentary, the sort of moody TV programme with fly on the wall camera work, following a police investigation team, through all the twists and turns of a seemingly unsolvable case.
So I’ll admit, that yesterday in this house, there may have been a bit of binge watching of this kind of thing; one assault and killing investigation after another. Initially, it felt great to watch the ‘bad guys’ be put away and justice be served, until that is, it was time for bed and I suddenly realised how this tiptoe into darkness had become lodged in my head.
As my eyes shut, all I could think about was destruction and hopelessness. Thanks to the rather grim afternoon of viewing, fear had walked in the door and casually put its feet up on the coffee table of my mind. And was going nowhere fast.
Eventually at about 1am (still awake!), having chewed over every possible fearful outcome in my life, I prayed, ‘Lord, will you lift this from me? It’s too much’.
I know I’d flirted with fear and swung the door wide open, but God, in his grace and mercy is always able and willing to offer us a way out. I eventually nodded off to sleep feeling a little more peaceful, but woke up this morning, still a little uneasy and unsettled. But, on the plus side, there was a song in my head, called ‘Fear is a liar’.
I don’t actually know all the words, just that one line, fear is a liar, fear is a liar.
As I got up, buzzed about, getting ready for the day ahead, I was unpacking that thought a little more.
Of course, not all fear is bad. The fear that you might fall, when standing close to a cliff edge, is a good fear. Staying away from things (or people!) who might bite is a good and cautious way to live.
Not all fear is bad.
But the suffocating, illogical fear of ‘what if’ usually has no life-redeeming purpose.
That’s the fear of all the things that might happen, the things that could go wrong.
Those kinds of fears are often groundless but they have a paralysing effect.
They tell you the future is bleak, there’s no hope, nothing will ever change.
Those kinds of fear stop you sleeping.
And they stop you from living.
With these thoughts and the song still rolling around in my head, I poured a strong coffee and settled down to read my Bible and devotion notes.
It’s worth saying at this point that I’m currently reading a devotion which is un-dated. It’s designed to be something you work through at your own pace, without reading a specific dated page each day.
I hadn’t looked at this devotion over the weekend and before I thumbed to the last page I read, I prayed, ‘Lord, you know how I’m feeling. Please show me something for today’.
I flicked through the book, to the bookmark, turned the page and here was the headline;
You seriously couldn’t make it up!
Perhaps more amazingly is the fact that God knew I wouldn’t read this particular devotion on Saturday or Sunday. He knew that I’d need to see that exact reading on Monday morning.
He even kindly woke me up with the song in my head.
Why is this even important?
Well, to me, it’s a simple reminder of God’s goodness.
If God can orchestrate my day so perfectly, wake me up with a song in my head, line up a perfect devotional just when I needed it, surely he’s got everything else under control too?
For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
When we know we are loved and held together by a God who sees and understands the tiny details of our lives, there is nothing to fear.